A FREE Guide To eBay Selling Success
We provide FREE Genuine British Guides and provide honest business advice based on real-time experience. Our Free eBay Business Guides will provide an insight into the ups and downs of running an eBay business. We run our own online business selling refurbished computers, computer spares and accessories on eBay, Amazon and other auction sites plus a couple of websites.
The adverts for the so-called guides on the right-hand side of this page have been placed by eBay and are not related to our business . Unfortunately we can not control eBay's freedom to include these "pie in the sky" listings next to our Guide - I wish we could! Probably hundreds of expectant eBay sellers have bought these so called 'guides' in the hope of receiving good business advice, to be just left disappointed, frustrated and despondent. Remember, you only get what you pay for and if you expect to receive valuable business advice for 99p you will be disappointed!
Rant Over - Now for The Real Reason you are here!
How to Fail on eBay!
Can you make a living on eBay - or is it just for fun?
95% of first time eBayers fail - either to sell items or to buy the item they want.
This is NOT a negative Guide or an eBay knocker! But quite the reverse, I'm totally sold on the eBay concept but beware - it's easy to burst the balloon!
It's a known fact, we learn from experience - it doesn't have to be our own experience!!
This is not a short Guide, so make a cup of tea, sit down in a comfortable chair and read my eBay experience. It just might save you a lot of wasted time, and quite possibly, it will make you some money! (Publishers Note: Since writing my Guides I have received 70+ emails asking for additional advice and over 40+ emails telling me that they have become eBay traders and enjoying it!)
Even now I'm still classed as an eBay "Newbie" but I do have quite a lot of experience with E-commerce and with Internet-businesses and I have a certain degree of success - in fact I make a very good additional income from the Internet.
I decided to register with eBay to (initially) sell some stuff that was cluttering up the loft and garage - as many new eBay sellers do. But then I got "the bug", "I was hooked", "sucked in" to the eBay-experience.
I thought I would give it a try for expanding my business and set about doing some research - finding out what the competition was doing. But did I follow my own example? Did I practice what I preach? NO! is the short answer.
I decided to try something new; a change is as good as a rest - right?
Well... yes it can be, but not the way I did it!
You see, I forgot some of the very basic rules for setting up a new experience (as opposed to something that I currently have experience with) business:
- Research... and then more research
- Read the professional's guidelines/advice - then look for more
- Business Plan - even for the most basic of business start-ups
- Set Goals/Targets like, my income in ...... will be X
But above all "stick with what you know" or at the very least take plenty of time to get to know something new - do not rush in.
So what did I do wrong?
I looked at what the eBay Power Sellers were selling. You see, I thought, "I've got the business experience, if they can do it, then so can I". Well in theory that is the case, but eBay is something completely different!
I researched, I read eBay's advice for new eBayers. I wrote a Business Plan and I set some Goals - but I didn't take it seriously enough. I didn't take enough time to really study and understand eBay and the unique eBay culture. My Wholesalers were in place (and that deserves another eBay Guide!). I had considered using Dropshippers but my research on this type of trading steered me away from it - perhaps another Guide might be worthwhile to explain the pros and cons of this trading set-up. My initial advice is to beware of rushing into Dropshipping as a way of trading with low cash flow. I set up a PayPal Business account - there are several PayPal options.
Following eBay's guidelines for marketing my listings (my items for sale). I listed about 12 items to start with (sort of dipping my toes) and then set the Bid Start Price. I based my prices on what the competition was selling at - this was also compatable with my buying in price and expected profit margin.
Then I got my packing and posting sacks ready for the off and sat back with a cup of tea...
Two days and a few pots of tea later, I hadn't even sold one listing.
I checked my competition and they were getting 20-30 eBay Feed-backs per day - great! What was I doing wrong?
Then, eBay urged me to consider dropping my starting bid. So I did.
Two days later and I still hadn't made a sale. I reduced my starting bid again!
Final day of the Auction, nothing sold and email reminders coming in from eBay telling me I had failed to sell my merchandise! I Know! Stop rubbing it in!
I took the decision to allow the Auction to end and not to take the"Free-listing" option offered by eBay for non-sold items. This is a good offer but I thought I could do it better - with a different approach.
I decided to offer something my competitors were not offering. Same goods but marketed differently, I was going to offer "value packs" at budget prices. Yes, my profit would be down but in theory I would sell more - look at Iceland Frozen Foods, or Kwik Save and Poundland, they have a "pile it high - sell it cheap" philosophy, based on the early days of Tesco (not any more Tesco!) and it works. Well... it works for them!
But did it work for me?
Well... it was better, but not enough.
So I looked at the whole package again. the Key Words, Product Description, The Gallery Photos etc
Talking about photos have you seen some of the photos used? Would you buy the product based on some fuzzy image dangled from a bedroom door?
My photos were good but not up to the standards of the eBay Power Sellers - my competition. So I approached my suppliers and asked for help. They were great (after all it's in their interests for me to sell their goods) and showed me how to access their stock of professional library photos. I selected the images I wanted and transferred them to my Adobe picture catalogue - any good Picture Library (most new computers come with a basic system) would do the trick, I just prefer Adobe. Then using the eBay Photo Manager I imported good quality jpeg images into my listings.
Off we went again with another auction - everything new including some new stock - I can't fail this time!
Okay it was better but still not good enough. I did get more people looking at the auction listings, you can see the number of visits via a visual counter, .But no sales!
What was I doing wrong? The listings looked great. The price was right. It was an in demand product - the Power Sellers were still selling. So why couldn't I sell the same products?
Then... the answer dawned on me!
Not quite a bolt from out of the blue - more of a headache passing type of feeling!
The potential buyers visiting my listings didn't trust me enough to buy from me.
They viewed the listing based on the quality of the Photo and the Key Words. It was obviously what they were looking for but...
I didn't have any positive Feed-back! I was a Newbie! No track record!
Quite probably after opening the listing, the potential buyer would read the description of the product and then go to the top of the page and look for my Feed-back Rating and see (0) my actual sales so far. Then, exit my pages and look for a more experienced trader with a higher Positive Feed-back rating- one you can trust!
The Final Test
I made several purchases ( I made about 5-6 but I suggest at least 10) and I made fast payment through my PayPal account. On receipt of the merchandise (and subject to the service I received) I left positive Feed-back - I, in turn received positive Feed-back for my prompt payment.
With just this low Positive Feed-back Rating, I re-listed my merchandise (I changed a few and added a few to make it a more varied selection) and - I sold every item within two Auctions!!
I made sure I provided good after-sales service i.e. packing, prompt postage and communications (email). I received positive Feed-back and left positive Feed-back in return.
Summary - The Moral to this eBay Guide
YOU can be successful with eBay providing that you follow some simple rules and guidelines.
You see, eBay is like no other sales system that I have come accross - it is unique. Yes there are plenty of imitators (and some good ones too - and you can use them to run your eBay business, watch out for the Guide!) but you must learn the "eBay-way", otherwise and unfortunately, you will probably fail.
Some tips that I have learnt from my experience with eBay:
- Read all about eBay Selling Tools - do not skimp on this, read everything there is available, it will pay dividends. One I have added is Turbo Lister a great free eBay resource.
- Don't copy the "big boys" research their methods and techniques but try your own way - put your own stamp on it.
- Find a unique product - very difficult now, but still possible - or at the very least one that is not listed in the 1000's and try to find a product that you can sell on a repeat business and through recommendations.
- If at all possible buy in a small amount of stock that you can ship out very quickly. Do not rely on your suppliers to have the stock in when you need it - most wholesalers will be selling vast quantities and will have a daily stock level. I have known even the biggest UK wholesalers to be out of stock - very embarrassing for you and not very good for your Feed-back!! I've mentioned Drop-shippers - they are used by eBay sellers and large Mail Order Sellers and can be useful but please be careful. You will be relying on a third party to deliver your customer's goods in perfect condition and in the quickest possible time. Be very careful, there are alot of sharks out there!
- Set aside a small amount of money in a Bank a/c or have a reasonable balance on a credit card to pay your eBay Fees and your Paypal Fees. (Beware!) watch your eBay selling fees. I have seen some sellers who have obviously made very little profit from the auction and on some occasions have probably lost out. You can sell for £1.00 and be happy if the item has cost you nothing. But if you want to run a business and make a profit, you must watch out for the, listing, selling and credit management fees.
- Keep researching - check eBay Listings on a regular basis and see what's new. Check the Items Wanted, this could be a source of income (but not a full-time one as some might lead you to believe). Check the other on-line auction companies and see what is happening outside eBay.
- Take note! Look out for the genuine Ebooks that will help you make a good and sound business but watch out for and avoid the "Cheapie Reprints and Resellers", the "Get Rich Quick", "Do Nothing and Get Rich" and the ultimate "eBay Millionaire" type Ebooks. Unfortunately there are plenty and they have been around since Adam and Eve sold their first cot on eBay! Most come from the US and are either repackaged or sold as the latest revelation to come to these shores - nonsense! Just be aware. If in doubt you can email me through eBay - I promise to give you an honest answer.
- The sellers who stay the eBay course, work hard to achieve their success. There is no easy route to eBay success - but if success is what you want, eBay can provide the key.
- And finally. Don't give up at the first hurdle - you can be successful on eBay!
I wish you good luck with your eBay business whether it's for profit or just for fun.
Many thanks for reading the Guide, if you found it useful please scroll down and tick the box.
If I can help you with your eBay business I will, drop me a line through eBay email.
PS - this is one of the first Guides that I wrote, there have been lots of new ones that have fallen by the wayside but this one stands the test of time. It is a genuine Guide to help those new to eBay, to provide help, so you don't make the same mistakes. Hopefully you have found it useful - if you have, then I'm satisfied that writing it and maintaining it is worthwhile. Please check out my other Guides they just might be of help with your eBay business too.